Cyclist Jyothi Rongala from Hyderabad who is on a mission to pedal 30,000 kilometres across the country, finds Punjab “most welcoming”.
Having completed 12,000 km of her tour, Rongala said, “Punjab was the most welcoming state for me till now. I faced lot of difficulties in Madhya Pradesh.”
Rongala, a former mountaineer, started her cycling tour in January 2017 from Hyderabad. However, after an accident in April 2017, she decided to stop her Journey in Delhi. She resumed her solo tour on January 8 this year from Delhi and has reached Chandigarh now.
Her aim is to break the record set by Australian cyclist Benjamin Woods and make an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records. Woods has a record of cycling 18,999 km.
“I was an adventure lover since childhood. I was a mountaineer but it is a seasonal sport and it costs about Rs 11 lakh just for the climbing expedition. Hence I had to switch to cycling. When I got an invitation from Pakistan by cyclist Samar Khan for a friendly ride under the theme ‘Sports has no boundaries’, people encouraged me to aim for a Guinness record,” she said.
Daughter of former employee of the Indian Air Force, Jyothi said, “I applied for the record and got the approval but they said either I can do a world tour or within a single country.”
On a crowd-funded tour, Jyothi does not carry any cash but just a tent and 40 kilograms of luggage. Her bike is a basic model that cost Rs 60,000.
“I was involved in rescue operations during the Nepal earthquake where some people were keeping watch of my activities. They asked me about my next plan and told them about this expedition. They also extended help though I did not ask them.”
Rongala hails from Aeluru village of East Godawari district where her mother is a sarpanch.
“After reports on my expedition appeared in local newspapers, an elderly woman walked up to me and handed me a Rs 500-note. She said, ‘I don’t know what you are doing but whatever it is, you are making us proud’,” said Rongala.